http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgTraci Sorell
Traci Sorell

Sorell receives First Peoples Fund fellowship

02/15/2018 12:00 PM
RAPID CITY, S.D. – The First Peoples Fund recently welcomed a new cohort of artist fellows who embody the “Collective Spirit” and whose lives reflect the traditional values at the heart of FPF’s mission - generosity, wisdom, respect, integrity, strength, fortitude and humility. And one of the 15 artists selected to receive the ABL fellowship is writer and Cherokee Nation citizen Traci Sorell of Olathe, Kansas.

“I am humbled to receive this fellowship. I hadn’t initially realized all the marketing costs related to the launch of a debut picture book. My friend suggested that I apply for the First Peoples Fund’s Artist in Business Leadership fellowship because it provides training, support and financial resources to artists wanting to grow their business,” Sorell said. “I am so grateful to be selected and look forward to the professional training that First Peoples Fund will provide me and the other fellows when we gather in Santa Fe, New Mexico, next month (March).”

Sorell said the fellowship will help her launch an author website and design and print promotional materials for her book “We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga,” which is set for release on Sept. 4.

The fellowship also will create a free downloadable curriculum guide for teachers and anyone else to download from Sorell’s website and pay for travel to book-related events.

“These costs would be very difficult for me to cover without the fellowship’s help,” she said. “Having this support also allows me to focus my time on writing more books and getting them ready for submission because that’s what is required to grow my business as a children’s book author.”

Each year First Peoples offers two fellowship-grant programs for artists: Artist in Business Leadership and Cultural Capital.

“We have such a range of mediums,” First Peoples Fund Program Manager Mary Bordeaux (Sicangu Lakota) said. “Everything from Indigenous foods to performing artists. We have artists using traditional techniques in modern ways. I’m excited about working with the artists, seeing them grow, and their projects come to fruition.”

Through projects of their design, as well as assistance and training provided by First Peoples Fund, it is hoped the 15 artists selected will develop skills to help them grow a thriving business for themselves and their families.

“When an individual artist is uplifted and supported, they impact their families, communities and the benefits can ripple out regionally and nationally. This inspires artists to fully honor their cultural creativity and frees them to embrace their Native identity and voice,” Bordeaux said. “The Artist in Business Leadership fellows are doing work within to stabilize themselves as artists.”

Receiving the fellowship goes beyond support for a year or a single project. Artist fellows are brought into the First Peoples Fund family and introduced to a network of artists, market opportunities and have a chance to build relationships while they grow their confidence and ability as artists.

Founded in 1995, First Peoples Fund honors and supports the “Collective Spirit” of First Peoples artists and culture bearers and strives to make a difference, pass on ancestral knowledge and extend a hand of generosity.

For more information, visit or email


Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
03/21/2018 04:00 PM
FORT SMITH, Ark. – The U.S. Marshals Museum is presenting a three-part lecture series called Jurisdiction and Judgment that highlights Fort Smith history and its connection to the Cherokee Nation. The first lecture in the annual series was held March 6 at The Blue Lion and looked at the connection between the CN Marshal Service, formerly Lighthorsemen, and U.S. marshals. Shannon Buhl, CNMS director, led the lecture speaking of the tribe’s role in historical law and order. Buhl said in the late 1800s Fort Smith and Indian Territory were the “deadliest” spots in the history of the U.S. marshals. He said U.S. marshals’ deaths helped bring together the partnership with the Lighthorsemen. “More U.S. marshals were killed here and in Indian Territory than any other time in history,” he said. “Judge (Isaac) Parker partnered with the Cherokee Nation. They partnered a Lighthorsemen with a U.S. marshal in Indian Territory. We have approximately 13 marshals on the federal memorial wall, 12 of which was killed during that timeframe.” After Oklahoma statehood in 1906, Buhl said the Lighthorsemen were disbanded and did not resurface until late in the 20th century. They were renamed the CNMS. “The Cherokee Nation Marshal Service is the oldest law force entity in the state of Oklahoma. We were here before statehood as Lighthorsemen,” he said. “But we’re also, at the same time, one of the newest law enforcement entities in the state of Oklahoma because we got remodeled. The modern day Marshal Service was (formed) after the Ross v. Neff decision...” Ross v. Neff was a 1986 case in which the 10th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruled that Oklahoma did not have criminal jurisdiction over Indian Country within the CN. Buhl said the name pays homage to when the tribe and U.S. marshals served together. “(Former Chief) Wilma Mankiller and her advisors looked at what we should be called. They looked at many names that we’ve been in the past and they decided…to call this new department the Marshal Service, back to that kinship and that brotherhood we had with the U.S. marshals where both sides died in that timeframe,” he said. Buhl said the tribe has always touted law and order. “Law and order in the Cherokee Nation predates the U.S. Constitution. The tribe has always been a nation of laws. Even before removal. We’re not like a normal governing agency. We believe in sovereignty. We believe in the right of our people. We believe in the protection of our culture and way of life.” Leslie Higgins, U.S. Marshal Museum director of education, said the second lecture on April 2 would focus on Cherokee Bill, or Crawford Goldsby, an outlaw who was hanged in 1896 in Fort Smith for murder and robbery. The last lecture on May 7 will focus on the U.S. marshals’ involvement in the Goingsnake Massacre, a shootout that occurred during a trial in the Cherokee court system in 1872 in the Goingsnake District. Ezekial “Zeke” Proctor was being tried for killing Polly Beck and wounding Jim Kesterson in a shooting incident. The Cherokee and U.S. courts were in dispute regarding jurisdiction, and therefore U.S. marshals were sent to arrest Proctor if he was acquitted. However, shooting broke out in the courtroom during the proceedings, killing eight of the marshals’ posse and three Cherokees. Each lecture is from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is free to the public. However, registration is requested. The series is also streamed live. For more information or to register, visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a> or <a href="" target="_blank"></a> or call 1-479-709-3766.
03/14/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Families looking for a fun, educational adventure for their children during spring break can visit Cherokee Nation museums on March 22. Guests will enjoy free admission to each museum and have the opportunity to participate in interactive activities such as make-and-take cultural art projects. Activities are provided from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and children are encouraged to visit each museum. Activities and locations are: • Silhouette pictures at Cherokee National Prison Museum at 124 E. Choctaw St., • Miniature gourd painting at Cherokee National Supreme Court Museum at 122 E. Keetoowah St., • Turtle rattles at the John Ross Museum at 22366 S. 530 Road in Park Hill, and • Syllabary coloring sheets at Sequoyah’s Cabin Museum at 470288 Highway 101 in Sallisaw. For information, call 1-877-779-6977 or visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.
03/09/2018 10:00 AM
TULSA – The University of Tulsa and Gilcrease Museum are sponsoring a symposium titled “Dislocations and Migrations” on March 30-31 at the Helmerich Center for America Research. Exploring the multifaceted experiences of human displacement and migration, the symposium brings together university and community scholars, activists, archivists, curators and librarians to consider many questions from various perspectives. “Displacements and migrations uniquely characterize all human experience. But, migrations are not all alike, nor are their causes and consequences easily described. After all, migration can be voluntary or involuntary; displacement speaks to power differentially deployed and experienced; and movements challenge domestic and international relationships,” states information released by Gilcrease Museum. “Even the way we remember migrations replicates political, cultural and social structures. Because migration and displacement are lived experiences and not simply conditions to be described, they involve trauma, reshaping identities and re-creation of communities, and thus refocus our notions of belonging, citizenship, community, family and health.” <strong>Some panel titles are:</strong> • “Removal and Resilience: Contemporary Southeastern Indian Art Confronts Histories of Forced Migrations,” • “People, Process and the Politics of Latin American Migration to the U.S.,” • “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Forced Migration and Historical Trauma,” • “Immigration and U.S. Schools: Innocent Children at the Mercy of the System,” • “Theoretical Distinctions between Historical Trauma and the Inter-Generational Transmission of Trauma,” • “Burma to Oklahoma: Needs Assessment of Refugees in Public Schools,” and • “Bob Dylan’s Travels Across America.” Registration is required and runs through March 16. Student and educator tickets may be purchased at a discounted rate of $10. Details and the full schedule of symposium panels may be found at <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. This event is organized through a new TU faculty and Gilcrease staff initiative – Cultures of the Americas – that is designed to foster interdisciplinary teaching and research through a hemispheric perspective. The university’s archives, special collections, fine art and archaeological collections housed at the Helmerich Center for American Research, Gilcrease Museum and TU’s McFarlin Library support Cultures of the Americas and many other initiatives. The Helmerich Center for America Research is located at 1400 N. Gilcrease Museum Road and is adjacent to the museum. For more information, email <a href="mailto:"></a> or <a href="mailto:"></a> or call 918-631-6414 or 918-631-3843.
03/09/2018 08:00 AM
PARK HILL – Area students have the opportunity to spend an interactive day learning about the Cherokee arts, language and lifestyles of the 1890s on March 28-29 at the Cherokee Heritage Center during Indian Territory Days. The annual educational event features hands-on learning activities for public, private and home-schooled children grades kindergarten to 12. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., and the event concludes at 2 p.m. each day. The museum and villages are open for self-directed tours, with demonstrations highlighting the many unique aspects of the time period held throughout the day. Cultural stations are located throughout the grounds to introduce students to the art of Cherokee pottery making, basket weaving, finger weaving and more. Students are also encouraged to try their hand at cultural games such as blowgun shooting, stickball, marbles and chunkey. Admission is $5 per student and accompanying adults are $2. School personnel accompanying students are free. Payment can be made to the Cherokee Heritage Center with cash, check, purchase order or credit card. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. For more information or to register your class, call Tonia Weavel at 918-456-6007, ext. 6161, or by email <a href="mailto:"></a>. The CHC is the premier cultural center for Cherokee tribal history, culture and the arts. It is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive.
03/02/2018 02:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Speakers Bureau will be held Thursday, March 8 from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. We will meet in the Community Ballroom that is located behind the Restaurant of the Cherokee. All Cherokee speakers are invited to attend. If you want to bring a side dish or a dessert, feel free to bring it. Come speak Cherokee and enjoy food and fellowship. For further information about the event, please contact the Language Program at 918-453-5151; John Ross at 918-453-6170; or Roy Boney Jr. at 918-453-5487. Tsalagi aniwonisgi unadatlugv dodvnatlosi Nvgineiga, Anvyi 8 ganvsulvi 12:30 p.m. adalenisgi 4 p.m. igohida. Na Anitsalagi tsunalisdayetiyi tsigotlv unaditli wayvsdi onadilvyvi utani kanvsula dodvnatlosi. Naniv Anitsalagi aniwonisgi otsitayohiha uniluhisdii. Alisdayvdi ayohisdi yodulia. Dodayotsadatlisani ale dodayotsalisdayvna hilutsvi. Ugodesdi tsadulihesdi tsadelayohisdi hiina wigehiyadvdi Tsalagi Gawonihisdi Unadotlvsv 918-453-5151; John Ross 918-453-6170; or Roy Boney Jr. 918-453-5487.
02/26/2018 04:00 PM
PARK HILL – A donation that reflects a part of Cherokee history was recently made to the Cherokee Heritage Center. Billy Wear and his wife Susan, of Springfield, Missouri, donated a chest of drawers that belonged to Rev. Stephen Foreman, a prominent 19th-century Cherokee. Wear is Foreman’s great grandson, and it was Wear’s grandmother’s wish to one day donate the chest to the CHC to retain Cherokee history. The chest came over during the forced removal of the Cherokee people in 1838-39 from southeastern United States to Indian Territory. Callie Chunestudy, CHC curator, said the chest most likely came over on a barge or boat. “Wealthier people didn’t have to do the walking in the Trail of Tears. If you were wealthy you could put all your stuff on a barge and send it and then you traveled by wagon or something else. So it wasn’t quite the hardship,” Chunestudy said. The chest belonging to Foreman is handmade although the type of wood it’s made of is unknown. “When you look at the dresser there are readily seen signs that this is handmade and not made by machines or in a factory. The detailing on the drawers, one can easily see that there is no uniformity in size, cut or width. While they are all done very well, it is obvious it is done by hand,” former CHC archivist Jerry Thompson said. Thompson said the dresser is “in great shape for it’s age” though there have been a few modifications over the years to help keep it maintained such as sanding, refinishing the top of the dresser, replacing broken pieces and adding support to certain areas where needed. He said after all these years the chest only suffers slight wood deterioration and was well taken care of. Chunestudy said the chest would be displayed in a future exhibit when appropriate. Other items acquired by Foreman after removal and donated by the Wears are the New Webster Dictionary and Complete Vest-Pocket Library, “The Life of Rev. David Brainerd” book, an 1844 Cherokee Almanac, parts of Old and New Testaments in Cherokee and a Cherokee hymn book. Foreman was born in the Cherokee Nation East in 1807 to John Anthony Foreman, of Scottish descent, and Wattie (Elizabeth), a Cherokee. He worked for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions doing mission work and translating documents and news into Cherokee for the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper in 1829, according to the Oklahoma Historical Society. During the Trail of Tears, he was a Cherokee delegate to the U.S. government and protested the removal by writing letters to the ABCFM and voicing his disdain for the way Cherokees were being treated and forced to leave their homes due to the “so called treaty,” as he wrote in one of the letters. “My determination, and the determination of a large majority of the Cherokees, yet in the Nation is never to recognize this fraudulent instrument as a treaty, nor remove under it until we are forced to do so at the point of the bayonet,” one of his letters states. After removal, Foreman and his family settled in Park Hill. He held many important positions in the CN, including being a signer of the 1839 Cherokee Constitution, the first superintendent of Education for the CN and an associate justice of the CN Supreme Court. He died Dec. 8, 1881.